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Cyprus to charge Russians for tourist visas

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Cypriot authorities have announced that Cyprus will no longer apply facilitated rules for Russian citizens applying for tourist visas.

Foreign Ministry sources told news site Philenews that starting from December 1, the country will start charging Russians that apply for tourist visas; they were previously exempt from visa fees.

In line with the new rules set to enter into force next month, the holders of a Russian passport who are currently exempt from visa fees will have to pay €80 when applying for a tourist visa, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported.

The price of €80 will only apply to adult applicants, as children between the ages of six and 12 will have to pay half the price – €40.

The decision of Cyprus to introduce tourist visa fees for Russians follows the full suspension of the visa facilitation agreement adopted by the European Union.

In September, the EU Council agreed that general rules of the visa code will now apply to citizens of Russia.

In line with the adopted decision, which officially entered into force on September 12, the Russian visa application fee increased from €35 to €80.

The decision also resulted in the need to present additional documentary evidence.

Moreover, Russians applying for a visa in one of the EU countries that have suspended their visa facilitation agreement, including Cyprus, will also face increased visa processing times and more stringent rules for issuing multiple-entry visas.

While some countries have only started to apply stringent rules for Russians applying for a visa, some have stopped issuing Schengen visas and banned Russians.

The list of the EU countries that have completely closed their borders to Russian tourists includes Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the Czech Republic.

The four EU countries that border Russia – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland – were among the first countries to stop issuing visas for Russians and ban them from entering.

The foreign ministers of these countries said they decided to introduce measures on the common ground of protecting public policy, internal security, and the safety of the Schengen zone.

Previously, the Lithuanian Interior Minister, Agnė Bilotaitė, called all EU members to follow the example of the Baltic States and Poland and ban entry for all tourists from Russia.

Bilotaitė stressed that the EU countries should show a strong backbone to this issue by introducing restrictions.

Before Moscow invaded Ukraine in February, Russian tourists were the second largest group of visitors to Cyprus – making up 20% of arrivals. (Source SchengenVisaInfo.com)